There was a time, not so long ago, when I had never eaten a dumpling. Shocking, isn’t it? My first dumpling experience was just under 2 years ago when I went to dinner with a couple of friends at Sea Bay Restaurant. I was wary and unsure about this food item, for no reason other than I was extremely fussy. Then I tasted it. I was in love! What a marvellous little thing this dumpling was!
When looking for a cheap dinner spot for a recent catch-up with some girlfriends, Sea Bay popped into my head again. I was ready for more dumpling love.
Sea Bay is very brightly lit, and very unforgiving when you catch sight of yourself in the mirrors lining the walls! Luckily our eyes were drawn to the menu, and the difficult task of choosing began. The menu features steamed, boiled and pan-fried dumplings, as well as various noodle and salad dishes. Service is fast, and we are given a complimentary pot of tea to start.
The 4 of us choose 5 dishes to share, 3 of them without meat as Kat is vegetarian. We start with the pancake with shallots which comes out as large as a pizza. It is deliciously crispy and flaky, and it’s hard to hold back despite knowing we have 4 dishes to come.
Pancakes with shallots, $9.80
Here come the dumplings! I’m no dumpling expert, just a lover, so I don’t know what these are like compared to Din Tai Fung for example, but we enjoyed these steamed pork & vege dumplings. Even more exciting was when I discovered another level of dumplings under the first basket – a bonus I didn’t know was waiting!
Steamed pork & vege dumplings, $9.80
Sea Bay’s fried pumpkin dumplings are my most favourite dumplings. I absolutely love the crispy fried bottoms and soft uppers, filled with a slightly sweet pumpkin puree. They are seriously divine. I could eat just these for dinner and be very happy.
Fried pumpkin dumplings, $9.80
My chopstick skills are seriously lacking, so I soon resort to using a fork otherwise we’d be here all night. Oh the shame. To add some vegetables to our dinner we order a cucumber salad. Large chunks of well-dressed cucumber, tomato and spring onions provides a fresh break from our carb loading.
Cucumber salad, $10.80
Our final dish is the fried chopped noodles with beef. I love the squidgy pillows of noodles, but it has celery throughout, and I have issues with celery. I love it raw or in a juice, but whenever it is in a soup or stir-fry it overpowers everything else to me.
Fried chopped noodles with beef, $12.80
With lots of laughter and catching up, we feasted for less than $15pp - a bargain dinner!
With a desire to finish the night on a sweet high, I convinced the girls to venture to Passionflower in Haymarket, with the promise of black sesame ice-cream. I still remember the first time I tried black sesame ice-cream, and I was blown away by the unique flavour.
The ice-cream at Passionflower is fantastically creamy. It’s a little pricey, especially if you eat in, but it’s so worth it. Kat chose chocolate, which she thoroughly enjoyed (I never choose chocolate ice-cream, is anyone else the same?), Laura chose nothing, and Lara and I shared a scoop of black sesame and a scoop of lychee rose. The black sesame was awesome as usual, steely grey in colour, with its seedy, unique flavour. The lychee rose is a soft pink with a true flavour of fresh lychee and the heady scent of rose.
Which food have you fallen in love with after your first taste?
Black sesame & lychee rose, $6.50 for 2 scoops
Lara pretending to play a game at the other-worldly Japanese Photoland above Passionflower
Sea Bay Restaurant
Phone 61 2 9267 4855
372 Pitt Street, Sydney
Open daily 11:30am – 10:30pm
Passionflower at Capitol Square
Phone 61 2 9281 8322
Shop G12 Capitol Square, 730-742 George St, Haymarket
Sunday to Thursday: 10am – midnight, Friday & Saturday: 10am – 1am